Tory leadership candidate Liz Truss has been criticised for comments about the quality of education at her Leeds school, which she claims caused children to be “let down”.
Speaking at the launch of her economic plan, the foreign secretary is expected to describe seeing “children who failed and were let down by low expectations” during her time at Roundhay school in the 1990s.
These are the latest in a series of claims about her education to be rubbished locally, this time by the council and the local MP, who called them “shameful”.
Fabian Hamilton, who has been the MP for Leeds North East, which includes Roundhay school, since 1997, said Truss “has shown she knows little about” the area.
He said: “First, she wrongly suggested that Roundhay was a red wall seat and now she has criticised our hardworking teachers and school staff in Leeds.
“Roundhay school has been an excellent educational institution for decades and its staff and students are real assets to our community. It’s shameful that Liz Truss has decided to attack them today.”
Previously, Truss’s claims that she grew up in a “red wall” seat were decried as “laughable”, while her comments that there was too much time spent on learning about racism and sexism instead of reading or writing were also criticised.
The school in north Leeds was rated “satisfactory” by Ofsted inspectors during Truss’s time there and is now rated “outstanding”.
Speaking about her plans to “level up in a Conservative way” on Thursday, Truss, who went to Oxford University after Roundhay school, is expected to add: “Everyone in our great country should be born with the same opportunities and be able to know that the town they are born in has opportunity.
“My mission in politics is to give every child, every person, the best opportunity to succeed, and for their success in life to depend solely on their hard work and talents, not their background or where they are from.”
Labour councillor Jonathan Pryor, who leads Leeds city council’s education executive, said: “The only people letting down children are the Tories. I think it’s important to remember that per pupil funding has been cut by 8% since the Tories came in, in 2010. And if she does win this contest, I would love to see her reversing some of those cuts to schools.”
“She might have been to school here in Yorkshire – an education which has actually put her in the running to be prime minister, so it can’t have been that bad – but, actually, all she seems to do now is slag the north off to try to curry favour with friends down in Westminster.”